Nov 26, 2013

Platter Matters: La Bûchette


Platters matter. Of course you can serve your cheeses on a regular plate, tipping in as they balance on the rims. But it seems a shame to take $80 worth of cheese and throw it unceremoniously on the table. You'll see throughout this blog the changing backgrounds of the cheeses, depending on how many I'm serving, what color they are, the sunlight, my mood. Rarely will you see a cheese photographed on a white platter because, let's face it, as cheese platters go, white is not a great choice. Most cheeses are white or off-white or yellowy-white and would be camouflaged.

My absolute favorite cheese platters, collected little by little during our stay here, are the big round turquoise platter, which I bought at a flea market in Dinard, Bretagne, and the red and black platter I bought on the Dingle Pensinsula in Ireland, pictured below. Not only do they both make stunning backdrops for cheese, but I also am flooded with wonderful memories every time I use them. Santa brought me the small square slate platter, thinking it would be fun for white cheeses (and how right he was). The large bamboo cutting board also works well in a pinch, especially for large parties; the benefit of using it as a cheese platter is that I never worry about sharp knives slicing into it. The other small platters are things that were already in the apartment when we moved in, including the mirror, which makes for some interesting photos, though it's hard to clean, and I can't say I'd recommend an antique mirror as a cheese platter unless your aim is a delectable, reflectable photo.
The one platter that I can't use was the one that I bought in the desert in Morocco, which then shattered in my suitcase on the way home to Paris. Greater tragedies have befallen me, but still, I was sad not to be able to serve my cheese on top of these beautifully polished fossils.

Here's my newest platter -- a souvenir from a trip to Spain. We all agree that it's very pretty, but even my children are starting to look at my platters with pursed lips and a critical eye: "But Mommy, it might be a little too busy to show off the cheese." Well, we'll see when we see, but I have high hopes.

THE CHEESE: La Bûchette

The word "la bûchette" means "a little log", aptly named for this little log of lactic cheese made from raw goat's milk. It's got an earthy, farmy taste, and a wonderfully creamy texture. The inside is quite white, and the blackness of the crust comes from ash mixed with mold -- the good kind of edible mold, that is. In fact, the ends might just be my favorite part, as I love the contrast of the creamy white stuff and the slight toothiness of the crust.

This particular La Bûchette is made by Le Pic, a large cheese producer based in Tarn in the mid-Pyrénées in Southern France. But really a bûchette in general just refers to a little log of goat cheese and is a fairly generic term, so not every bûchette will look and taste just like this one. Some might not even be ashed at all.


Just about the only cheese that does look good on a white platter is one that is ash-covered, like La Bûchette. The trio of cheeses (Comté, Galletout, and La Bûchette) in the photo below was served on this makeshift platter -- jury-rigged because I had to do something to let the white cheese be visible -- before I had purchased the others. You can see why buying some real cheese platters was a vital necessity. Vital. Life or death stuff here.

To my husband's annoyance, I continue to look for more good cheese platters, despite having a half dozen already. I love variety. The issue is finding a place to store all these big platters in our small-and-very-stuffed Parisian apartment.


  1. Cheese dishes and cheese omelette can never look more yummier and well presentable than on slate plates. i like your blog and ideas as they are well connected and interesting.


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